New hurdles for Texas teens

Need an abortion right away? First convince your parents. Then fill out this really long form. Then find a notary 

Published September 20, 2006 8:13PM (EDT)

Broadsheet has been hearing for a while that the Texas Medical Board has finalized its fancy new forms for minors to fill out when they're seeking the parental consent -- that's consent, not notification -- they need in order to undergo an abortion. But, as required by state procedure, the forms need to be published in the weekly Texas Register before they can go into use -- and so far, they haven't appeared.

On the one hand, we're very curious to see these forms; on the other, we're not in a big hurry for them to be put to use. Apparently, according to RH Reality Check, the required paperwork for minors is six pages long. ("Everything is bigger in Texas," notes blogger Dawna Cornelissen.) Also, the state's 2005 parental consent law left the Medical Board responsible for drafting the form; the Board took it upon itself to add the requirement that the form also be notarized.

Perhaps we should at least note that the Texas House, when considering the law last year, defeated an attempt to make it even harder for teens to seek judicial bypass of the consent requirement. But instead, let's go with the opposite observation: that these laws, oppressive as they are to begin with, often contain even more hurdles than meet the eye.

By Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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